The 5 Basics of Disney Vacation Planning: Part 4-Should you get the dining plan?

I am going to come right out and say it, I am a huge fan of the dining plan and always have been. While I realize it might not be for everyone, I strongly encourage you to look into before you just brush it off as a rip off or scam.

Like everything else, Disney offers you option in your dining plan choice. There are three main dining plans:
Quick Service
Plus Dining
Deluxe Dining

Before you get lost delving into the basics of what differentiates these plans let me give you a few reasons I like the dining plan and why you should consider it:

The prices are higher than you think. You won’t find grocery store pricing in WDW and its resorts, and prices on even the “cheap” items will be more than you bargained for. A bottled water is $3 so you can imagine what a hamburger and fries will set you back! It adds up!

You’re going to eat anyway! The thought of packing something from outside the parks to eat or go off property to get a more affordable meal doesn’t always work (especially if you aren’t staying at a villa resort and therefore have no kitchen). By the time you pay for transportation off property to get your food, package it and bring it to the parks and it faces the elements…the chances of you wanting to eat it are slim. Likewise scheduling time to utilize transportation to go back to your resort or travel off property for a meal won’t be as cost efficient as paying for the dining plan.  

There IS a value. The estimated savings aren’t fake…the dining plans really do offer a value and you can certainly maximize it if you know what you’re doing or use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner (like myself) to help you.

So what are the differences and how do you choose? The dining plans are based on a per person, per night rate, so each allotment listed is per person, per night. Here are the basics: 

Quick Service Dining Plan:
Save approximately 10% per adult on dining
(2) quick service meals 
(1) snack 
(1) resort refillable mug per person

Year round pricing:
ages 10 and up $34.99 per night
ages 3-9 $11.99 per night

Plus Dining Plan:
Save approximately 15%-20% per adult on dining
(1) quick service meal 
(1) table service meal
(1) snack
(1) resort refillable mug

Value and Regular Season Pricing:
ages 10 and up $51.54 per night
ages 3-9 $15.02 per night

Peak Season Pricing:
ages 10 and up $53.54 per night
ages 3-9 $16.02 per night

Deluxe Dining Plan:
Save approximately 30-35% per adult on dining
(3) table service meals
(2) snacks
(1) resort refillable mug 

Value and Regular Season Pricing:
ages 10 and up $85.52 per night
ages 3-9 $23.79 per night

Peak Season Pricing:
ages 10 and up $89.52 per night
ages 3-9 $25.79 per night

There are also 2 other plans: The Premium package and the Platinum package

Premium Package:
(3) table service meals
(2) snacks
(1) resort refillable mug

Unlimited use of select recreation:
Golf: Four 18-hole championship golf courses with inclusive green fees, electric cart, shoe and club rentals and range balls
Unlimited use of select watersports at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports: parasailing, water skiing, wake boarding, tubing and personal watercraft rentals
Boat rentals, guided fishing excursions, horseback riding and more* 
Admission to Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba (one admission per person, category 2 seating) reservations are required.
Unlimited admission to select Disney Tours 
Unlimited admission to select children’s activity centers
Admission to Grand Gathering experiences

*Some restrictions may apply and advance reservations may be required 

**Standard Disney guests accompanying a Premium or Platinum guest can enjoy a 10% discount on all activities at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Center 

For more information on the Premium package click here 

Platinum Package:
(3) table service meals
(2) snacks
(1) resort refillable mug

*The Platinum package includes everything outlined in the Premium package plus the following: 
Personalized pre-arrival itinerary planning
Accommodations in either a Deluxe Villa Resort or a Deluxe Resort
Preferred fireworks viewing for Wishes or Illuminations
Magical Evening Events: Reserved seating for Fantasmic (some restrictions apply), a fireworks cruise to view Illuminations or Wishes (one cruise per reservation, some restrictions apply)
A complimentary spa treatment
Richard Petty Ride-Along experience
Disney’s PhotoPass CD

And now you have a million questions about the dining plan and where you can eat and if the food is any good…and I can tell you, most of it is pretty darn good if not fantastic! Head over to the Disney Food Report, a website designed by the faithful foodies at Pixie Vacations to read about the dining delights at Disney!